Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm Not Who I Was


This post gets a little more personal than I usually get. Sharing innermost feelings with close friends is one thing, but with perfect strangers is another altogether. However, I've been feeling like it's time I started to share some of this, in the hopes of being able to help others. So here's a start.

I've enjoyed Brandon Heath's song "I'm Not Who I Was" since it first came out. It resonates with me because it reminds me of situations from my past. Tonight on the radio I heard the coolest story behind that song.

I tried to find it online to make sure I remembered it all accurately, but could not, so I'll do my best to get it right but there's my disclaimer. :) Brandon wrote the song about a friendship that dissolved years ago. He said that he had a problem with unforgiveness, but was finally able to forgive this friend and then he sat down and wrote this song about it.

The really neat thing is, since writing this song, he's heard from old girlfriends and such wondering if that song was written about them. No. It was about this friend. And it just so happens that this friend heard the song on the radio and really liked it. He had no idea that he knew the artist, nor that the song was about him. But he learned through a mutual friend that Brandon -- whose MIDDLE name is Heath which is why the friend didn't realize it was him -- was indeed the Brandon he used to know, and that the song had been written about him. He contacted Brandon and the two men are going to meet in a couple of weeks. They haven't spoken in, I think the lady on the radio said 11 years. Won't that be interesting?

I won't post the entire song's lyrics, but here are a few bits that pull me back in time a bit and make me think. And here also are my thoughts on those lyrics...

I wish you could see me now.
I wish I could show you how
I'm not who I was.


We'll start right there. I have felt that way many times before, in thinking about relationships from the past that have been broken, or even relationships that were just drift-aways. I think the reason this thought comes to mind so much is that I really do feel like a completely different person than I used to be.

You see, I used to struggle greatly with insecurity and self-esteem, for starters. Add to that extreme social anxiety, and fear of rejection, then mix in some dependency issues. Compound the whole works with depression and generalized anxiety, and you have a mess. I don't like that person and I don't know how anyone else did. Friends that I have now who were also friends during those years, I have asked that question -- how on earth could you have liked me? They assure me that they did, but I didn't like myself even then, and I especially don't like the self that I was, NOW.

I've thought about writing a post -- or it would probably have to be a series of posts, actually -- on how I overcame all of those issues (a great big dose of God, obviously, but the process He used is what I'm referring to here) and became who I am today (completely healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) but whenever I sit down to do it, I really can't piece together just how it happened. I know so many people struggle with depression and anxiety disorders and if my story could help even one other person overcome them as I did, all those miserable years would be worth it. So hopefully one of these days, this post will come. But for now... back to the song. :)

I have that thought, about wishing that the people who knew me then who are no longer in my life today, could see how I've changed, could see what a different person I am today, whenever I reflect on any part of my past, actually.

The song continues:

I used to be mad at you,
A little on the hurt side too,
But I'm not who I was.


Knowing now that Brandon was writing about his own issue of unforgiveness, his meaning for the song is a little different than my perception for my own life experiences, but that's okay. I always think of two people in particular during this part of the song, two terribly broken relationships from years ago. I didn't deal greatly with the anger aspect, a bit of anger from time to time when the breaks first occurred perhaps, but hurt more than anything else. They say that time heals all wounds, and it does. I've felt neither anger nor hurt over either of these relationships for a long time now, but I do feel remorse. I wish that I could go back into the beginning of those relationships and be the me of today rather than the me of the past, and redo those relationships the right way. Obviously, that can never happen. And there really isn't a thing in the world I can do to rectify those long-past situations either, and so as I said, I simply feel remorse and remind myself not to screw up any future relationships like I did the past ones. :)

Another line I like,

I found us in a photograph,
I saw me and I had to laugh,
You know, I'm not who I was.


That's such a me thing to do. I don't look through old photographs from these two friendships, don't even know where they are, it's been so long, but Angie of Bring the Rain wrote a couple months or so ago about how she views life moments in snapshots, and I can identify with that. I see snapshots of memories from events with those people in my mind, and those are my photographs. And just like Brandon, I sometimes just have to shake my head and laugh at myself, at who I was then. Because as my grandmother says, sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying. ;)

And finally, the last bit of the song that I'll quote,

I wish I could see you now,
I wish I could show you how
I'm not who I was.


And to this, I just have to repeat that I think that it's really cool that Brandon is going to be doing exactly that in a couple of weeks, with this friend from eleven years past that he obviously thought he would never have the opportunity to do this with.

God does some pretty cool things, and if God would put all of that together for Brandon, I suppose it's possible He just might do it someday for me too. He's still in the miracle business after all. I'm reminded of that every time I think about how "I'm not who I was."

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

I loved reading this. I came across is pretty randomly in a google search. :) Yea for your support of compassion intl.